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tv   Fox 5 News Edge at 6  FOX  November 12, 2010 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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purses wallets and coats and then they have to meet with pretrial services where they are going to have to establish an electronic monitoring system for the johnsons at their home in mitchellville. if they can't do it tonight, we're told that jack johnson and his wife leslie just elected to the prince georges county council will have to remain this their home throughout the course of this weekend. now, you mentioned, brian, we have a photograph from outside of the johnson's home this afternoon. when jack johnson was arrested and his wife leslie arrested as well, both are charged with tampering with witnesses and evidence related to a federal case and destruction of records related to a federal case. each of those charges holds a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a 2 a -- $250,000 fine. now the agents went to their house this morning. fbi agents, to execute a search warrant. they were not expecting to make any arrests, we're told this
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morning. after a two-year fbi investigation. we can show you some of the highlights of what has happened here in this case. this is a case that began in 2007 an investigation that started, we believe, according to the court documents released moments ago, that this began when jack johnson received a $100,000 check from an unnamed developer here in prince georges county. on november 5th, he received a $5,000 check, according to the fbi. and then today, another $15,000 check from supposedly a developer. this investigation since 2007 is looking in to allegations of money laundering and public corruption here involving the long-time two-term, eight-year county executive jack johnson who previously for eight years had been the state's attorney in prince georges county. just weeks away from finishing
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his 16 years in public service, the fbi said it wanted to complete the investigation before he left office. they did not expect to arrest him today and here's why they did. and we will have this on-line for you shortly. i'm going to read this from the affidavit. it is a ten-page affidavit that was released a just short time ago. it says today at approximately 10:12 this morning leslie johnson called jack johnson on the target phone. by that they mean a phone, a cell phone that had been bugged by the fbi. that leslie johnson explained that two women were at the door. johnson replies don't answer it. he told leslie to go to their bedroom and go to my drawer and you'll see a check in there that a developer rote wrote me. the fbi believes that the check is the $100,000 check that the unnamed developer gave to jack johnson they say in return for his official assistance. leslie johnson interrupted jack and asked if she should take cash out hoff the drawer.
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he replied yes and he told her to put the cash in her underwear. leslie johnson asked where's the check? where's the check. jack johnson described a box within a drawer in their bedroom. leslie johnson is overheard shuffling through items on this bugged cell phone. and he explained the check was under the underwear drawer. lesscy johnson asked if it is in a box where they stored liquor and he said yes. she stated the check is in here. and johnson said tear it up, that's the only thing you have to do. according to the fbi this morning. leslie johnson questioned jack if he had the cash down in the basement and if jack johnson wanted her to move it also. jack johnson replied put it in your bra and walk out or something. i don't know what to do. the fbi says when they went inside the residence, that mrs. johnson had $79,600 in cash in her underwear.
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and that when they placed them under arrest charging them each with two federal crimes and they are about to leave the courthouse. we expect in the next hour after they take care of official business we are told that jack johnson will address the media. the couple's youngest son was in the courtroom. jack johnson didn't look at him when leslie johnson was leaving she blew him a kiss and waved. a stunning development here in prince georges county. >> stunning indeed 67 as we mentioned, jack johnson's home was searched by the fbi this morning. you can imagine after hearing all of that. sky fox is over the scene. you can see the squad cars lining the street in his mitchellville neighborhood. matt ackland has the breaking news. >> i want to show you video we shot just before leaving jack johnson's house at 4:45 today. leaving the at appeared to be home. most were carrying boxes that appeared to be filled. also, we noted that some of the investigators were carrying post other-size boxes. inside of those box we could
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see files, but not really much else. this began this morning when federal officials arrived at johnson's home, both the county executive and his wife, county council member elect leslie johnson were cuffed and escorted out of the home. we had a chance to talk to one of the neighbors who saw all of this. she is standing behind the county executive. >> why are they messing with him that blew my mind. you don't believe there is any -- >> no way. no way. honor and integrity and that's what that man stands for. >> reporter: all right. we will go to a press conference that is currently taking place right now. if we can go ahead an go to that. we have that for you. >> we don't have it, matt. go ahead and finish up your story, if you would. >> getting back to the two other interesting things, one, bob was talking about the plumber at the house. the fbi actually called a plumber in to look at the plumbing there. apparently maybe because that check was flushed.
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we're not sure. another thing that we noticed that there was a broken window beside the front door. we're not sure if that was broken as the raid was executed but we did see crews arrive as we were there and they boarded up the window. once again, around 4:45 today, about 11 investigators agents left that house, all of them carrying boxes. we presume that all of it was evidence. back to you. >> you can tell we are waiting on a press conference here. we thought it was going to begin a short time ago but when the authorities step to the stand, we believe outside of the greenbelt courthouse we will bring it to you live. in the meantime, beth parker is live in upper marlboro now. the question is, is jack johnson still in charge of prince georges county? >> well, his spokesman says that johnson is still in charge. take a look. this is the county administration building here in upper marlboro. this like the house is one of the places raided today. a county spokesman says although she in charge, the
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county attorney is looking in it to. his portrait still hangs on the wall but no other sign of jack johnson at his office today. >> we saw a lot of undercover agents and people chaotic. you know, people going here and there and everywhere. >> reporter: what she was seeing is a raid on the fifth floor office of the county executive. >> the county executive is in federal custody. >> wow. >> are you surprised. >> very much surprised. >> reporter: johnson's long time spokesman said that johnson is still in charge. >> he's been a good man. he's been great for this county. have the lowest crime rate in 35 years a aaa bond rating. test scores in schools have increased dramatically over the last six years. and it is because of him putting the resources where they need to go. >> reporter: about a year ago, johnson signed an executive order that names howard burnett, acting county executive in the event that the county executive is
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"incapacitated." shown here in a photo with johnson, burnett is the deputy chief administrate officer for health and human services. >> all right. let's go ahead and take you to the press conference now in greenbelt, maryland. >> after the meeting this morning, fbi agents interviewed jack johnson about the alleged bribe payments. according to the complaint, jack johnson was permitted to leave that interview and then made a series of telephone calls to his wife leslie johnson. those calls were monitoring by fbi agents pursuant to a court ordered wiretap. when fbi agents knocked on the door of the johnson's home, according to the affidavit, jackson son and leslie johnson had a discussion of how to destroy evidence and conceal currency that was in the house. according to the affidavit, jack johnson and leslie johnson discussed destroying a check from the developer, specifically mr. johnson told
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leslie johnson to flush the check down the toilet. agents then entered the johnson's home and conducted a search of leslie johnson. according to the allegations in the affidavit, agents discovered $79,600 concealed on mrs. jonsson. the affidavit reveals that today's law enforcement investigation is the tip of an iceberg. what i mean by that is that it is part of a broader ongoing corruption investigation by the fbi and the irs here in prince georges county. that investigation is active and ongoing. in the coming weeks and months we will learn more about the details of this investigation as the matter proceeds. we still have several real estate developer and government officials to be interviewed and fbi and irs agents will be conducting those interviews and gathering additional evidence over the coming days. we expect additional defendants and additional charges to arise
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out of these investigations. and we're not able today to discuss anymore details beyond what is contained in the affidavit that was filed in this case. i want to invite mr. mcfeely and miss storkman to make a few comments. before i do, i want to express my appreciation to the prosecutors and investigators who have been conducting this case and the u.s. attorneys office,cy -- assistant u.s. attorney and those conducting the investigation. the work that has been done by fbi and irs agents. it is our practice not to name them but they who they are and they have been doing an extraordinary amount of work this recent days and weeks as a result of the fast-moving nature of this investigation. >> thank you. i will be very brief. today we partially took down what we term the covert phase of an investigation that has
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lasted for many years and involved a multitude of investigative techniques. over the next few months, fbi and irs agents will be conducting interviews with individuals that we believe have information relative to this ongoing investigation. our message is clear. if you have any information regarding a paid to play scheme in this county or this state, it is far better for you to talk to us now than for us to come knocking on your door. we are committed to putting an end to public officials who dishonor their office by accepting bribes in exchange for favorable treatment. i'm going to introduce irs special agent in charge for her comments. >> the irs criminal investigation is proud to provide our financial investigative expertise and our joint work with the fbi, our federal law enforcement
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partner. this combined force, of federal law enforcement agencies will continue to make a difference in our local communities. today's actions demonstrate our collective effort to enforce the law and to ensure public trust. public officials hold positions of trust and the irs criminal investigation is working to ensure that public officials abide by all the laws as a citizens do whom they serve. public trust is broken when public officials commit crimes. irs criminal investigations sends a message with the fbi that no public official gets a free pass, as no one is above the law. thank you. >> let me follow up on the invitation and invite anyone who has information about the investigation to conduct the fbi. the number is 410-265-8080. >> you spoke of additional
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defendants will there be more elected officials brought up at this time? >> we're not going to comment on who might be charged in the case other than to tell you there will be additional charge and additional defendants. >> what role did election day play in the timing? >> election day played no role in the timing of these arrests. in fact, as you can discern from the affidavit the arrests were dictated by the defendants rather than law enforcement. what we mean is we followed the evidence and in this case we acted to quickly developing crime. >> are you concerned that mr. johnson may have tried to destroy evidence or tamper with witnesses -- >> the judge released mr. johnson on certain conditions. one is not to destroy evidence. we always worry about destruction of evidence in our cases. but this this case we have taken a lot of steps today, as i mentioned, the search of 13 location and gathered a fair
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amount of evidence we will be reviewing over the coming weeks what are the other 18 locations -- 13 other locations. >> the 13 locations, obviously the home was disclosed and in addition a number of government offices were searched. i'm not going to comment on specific locations. >> how did the fbi initially kick off the alleged corruption? >> we are limited today to discussing what is actually contained in the affidavit. the affidavit reveals the investigation has been yo go ongoing for several years. we're not going to talk about what specific evidence led to the investigation other on that reiterate we don't do fishing expeditions. >> sounds like you weren't ready to pull the trigger today [ inaudible question ] >> in planning like mr. mcfeely
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did we try to plan for every contingency. in this case the affidavit alleges the evidence there was an effort to destroy evidence and the agents reacted quickly to that [ inaudible question ] >> i'm not going to talk about what charges might be filed over than to say that yes we expect additional charges and additional defendants we're not going too comment on who is or isn't cooperating. agents will be fanning out and interviewing a lot of februaries in-- interviewing a lot of folks. >> how big is the iceberg? how widespread is the play for pay mentality. >> when i talk about the tip of the iceberg i'm talking about the investigation. it has been a long-standing and broad investigation.
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i'm not going to be able to talk about what else it might lead to t. i can't comment on that at this time. >> the jonssons are charged with two crimes in this complaint. as of today and i'm not going to comment beyond that. the conditions of the release mr. jonsson was released on electronic monitoring and mrs. jonsson was released on her own reconnie sans. there is conditions not to destroy evidence or obstruct the investigation and a condition that requires them to obtain court approval for any financial transactions in excess of $1,000 [ inaudible question ] >> as i said, we are not going too be able to answer any questions about the allegations beyond what is in the affidavit
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[ inaudible question ] unfortunately i'm not going to elaborate beyond what i said about potential charges. >> do you believe that any evidence or documents or cash was flushed down the toilet today? >> i can't comment on that. but you can draw your own conclusions from what is in the affidavit. i think our goal here is to send two messages. one to any officials who might be engaged in corruption that it is not safe. that federal agents are working, often working quietly, as in this case but they are working constantly to uncover corruption and the second is to citizens. sometimes people do develop a sense of cynicism about corruption and our hope is that this law enforcement action will reassure folks that if you
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have evidence of corruption you can report it. agents are standing by to do something about it. 410-265-8080. thank you very much. >> you have been listening to rob rosenstein u.s. attorney outside of the if federal courthouse in greenbelt, maryland. at 1:00 this afternoon, jack johnson's worst nightmare came true. the u.s. attorney's office, the fbi and irs went knocking on his mitchellville home looking for evidence and what the fbi describes as a play to pay scheme in prince georges county saying that jack johnson was a central figure in a bribery case. the public trust has been broken according to the irs just moments ago. no public official gets a free pass. we are told there could be more arrests in this case. it has been going on for two years. you are looking at the very first one. the authorities didn't go to arrest jack johnson today.
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they bugged his cell phone, listened in as he called his wife and they say, in the affidavit, she was hiding $79,000 in cash in her underwear and tearing up checks worth tens of thousands, if not $100,000 from local developers. right now, there are people in prince georges county who are seeing their whole life flash in front of them. this is not over. the authorities say if you know information it is better for you to call them then having them coming and knocking on your door. this is a story we will be watching closely. we will take a quick break. back after this. 
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-really? -that's terrific! -did not know that. -i'm in. [ male announcer ] america spoke, verizon listened. switch to fios today, now with no term contract required. it's time for fios. call the verizon center for customers with disabilities at 800-974-6006 tty/v. hi there. i'm sue palka. we did it. it's an entire workweek full of beautiful weather. today's high temperature 66 degrees. the big question is now do we keep it going through the weekend and the answer is yes. i'm happy to tell you we are back in the mid-60s again
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tomorrow. should be a lot of sunshine. perhaps on sunday a small increase in some high clouds. monday, mostly dry, but also mostly cloudy. 63 degrees and tuesday, showers come in to town. we will watch to see if we don't get a couple of showers late on monday. for tonight, we are staying clear. it will be cold in the suburbs. we had a lot of spots in the 20s last night. that will happen again. 40 for the district. tomorrow, bright and sunny and temperatures just as comfortable as today. 65 degrees. notice the northeast wind, though. if you live near water, tides will be running a little high because we continue to have that northeast wind piling up water. for tomorrow, it is sunny and 43 at 8 a.m. by noon 60 and by 4:00, 64 degrees. through the five-day forecast we go, late showers on monday. only sprinkles for the fourth quarter of the redskins/eagle game for monday night football. showers begin in ernest on tuesday and may linger in to wednesday. brian and the news edge will be right as
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the game of the week, the playoff game that will get underway in a half hour. let's talk about the redskins. back at practice today. brian orakpo missed yesterday with back soreness. banks was out there for a while on the field catching a couple of balls but his status for monday is uncertain. limited today in practice. portis ryan terrain and landry. let's talk about the guy all the players have to face on monday night. that's michael vick. he suffered a rib injury against the redskins in week four which sidelined him for a month. he returned last week against the colts and accounted for 292- yards of offense with a passing and rushing touchdown. he is back to form and the redskins will have their hands full on monday night. back in ash gas burn this was the scene in the redskins locker room. under the hoodie, portis
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supporting a phillies hat. the same week the skins are playing the eagles. he said it matched his outfit and he didn't have a red nationals hat but what a difference a day makes. >> i love the nationals, you know. they try to make it is a big story about my phillies cap. but i'm redskins, nationals -- make sure i stayed out of the headlines. >> i didn't even know. i'm glad you brought it to my attention that they threw me under the bus for wearing a phillies hat. >> you think i woke up like i can't put on this hat, wearing phillies not eagles. you will never see me with green on. immediately following the game stick around the post game show featuring dave feldman. game of the week highlights tonight at 10:00.
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recapping the top story tonight, from all indications outgoing prince georges county executive jackson son right now is wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet. under the close eye of the fbi his wife leslie also arrested today and released on her own recognizance. both charged in a play to pay scheme in prince georges county according to the fbi. we are talking bribery here. the public trust has been broken says the irs. authorities went to gather evidence today at prince georges county executive jackson son's mitchellville home when they heard while he was talking to his wife on a bugged cell phone she was destroying evidence. we have all angles of the story covered. we will work it all night. the latest at 10:00. 
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